Cynthia Nixon reprized her role as attorney Miranda Hobbes in HBO Max’s Sex and the City sequel And Just Like That…, this time adding one to her character as a queer woman who explores romance through stand-up comics new fold added Che Diaz (played by Sara Ramírez). Her 2022 also included a twist on HBO’s The Gilded Age. Meanwhile, Bowen Yang brought his candid and fresh perspective to NBC’s Saturday Night Live, where he completed his third season as a cast member.
BOWEN YANG: I wonder how it must have felt to play Miranda again as an actress who has probably experienced closure many different times.
CYNTHIA NIXON: After the second film I thought to myself, there won’t be more. We’re done.
YANG: I believed you.
Nixons: I believed it too. The only downside to Miranda is that when you identify so deeply with a character, other types of roles can escape you until you distance yourself from them.
YANG: Do you feel like you’ve reached that distance?
Nixons: I have to play Emily Dickinson. I have to do all these things. The characters were always allowed to evolve, so it was fun going back with everything that’s happened to the actors and the characters in the meantime.
YANG: I heard you didn’t want to put up new wallpaper. They wanted to build a new house.
Nixons: That was me. This will create a strong response. But it’s transformative. Things change.
YANG: Being able to direct an episode of Just Like That was probably a really interesting experience.
Nixons: I’d directed a few plays, but film directing is a different matter altogether. I wasn’t prepared for how supportive everyone would be. I assumed they would be willing and willing, but it was almost as if they were all my parents.
YANG: Wow. Because that’s no guarantee, especially in an episode where a lot is happening. Carrie moves there, and then Miranda realizes she’s obsessed with Che. They had to regulate a lot of movement in the story.
Nixons: And despite all the angst that happens earlier in this series, it’s the moment of breakthrough and new beginnings.
YANG: And with all the discourse about it, I hope everyone realizes that the discourse is a compliment. The discourse is something we no longer understand.
Nixons: If people would say negative things [executive producer, writer and director] Michael Patrick King would say, “It’s fantastic. We’re having a water cooler moment.”
YANG: Can you talk to Che about that scene in the kitchen? It’s so great what you’ve done.
Nixons: [Episode writer] Samantha Irby told us all about this scene before we even read it. When a queer woman in the writers’ room wrote this queer sex scene, my wife was like, “I know it’s going to be hot and I know it’s going to be real.” We had an intimacy coordinator and we tried different ways. Miranda continues to have fantasies in the next episode. So we wanted to shoot it at the same time but make it look different because things look different when we remember them than when they actually happen.
YANG: It’s a pervasive thing. I find it remarkable that you had to sell this moment in the kitchen as life-changing. You have to believe that she will rearrange everything in her life.
Nixons: And you have to feel both the sexual jolt and the emotional breakdown that happens later, not only that this event is earth-shattering, but that she’s been in the winter for so long. It’s both. May I ask about live performances and is it excruciating? I’m on stage, but I’ve been rehearsing for a month and my script for much longer.
YANG: Unlike the theater, you read off a cue card. They throw themselves on the rafters and at the same time try to play with the camera. A film set doesn’t work that way. You should memorize your lines. The nice thing about working at “SNL” is that you know on Saturday whether something you thought about on Tuesday will work out or not. You’re supposed to finish a movie and then wait two years.
Nixons: And see what’s left of what you did. Is there a range of how nervous people are?
YANG: I think there’s this high baseline of nerves – it’s Saturday and there’s loud saxophone music playing that gets you in the zone. But that’s a very 2020’s way of working on SNL: Now everyone’s meditating. Everyone finds ways to align their chakras. But I still get that adrenaline rush when I go on stage.
diversity‘s Actors on Actors is presented by Apple TV+.